Free Write Journal #294


Free Write Journal #294

April 26, 2024


Satsvarupa dasa Goswami Maharaja
Spiritual Family Celebration
Saturday, July 6, 2024


Meeting of Disciples and friends of SDG


The Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall
845 Hudson Avenue
Stuyvesant Falls, New York 12174

There is plenty of parking near the Hall. The facility is just a few minutes’ walk from SDG’s home at 909 Albany Ave.


10:00 – 10:30 A.M.      Kirtana

10:30 – 11:00 A.M.      Presentation by Satsvarupa Maharaja

11:15 – 12:30 P.M.       Book Table

12:30 – 1:15 P.M.        Arati and kirtana

1:15 — 2:15 P.M.         Prasadam Feast


Baladeva Vidyabhusana at [email protected] or (518) 754-1108
Krsna dasi at [email protected] or (518) 822-7636

SDG: “I request as many devotees as possible to attend so we can feel the family spirit strongly. I become very satisfied when we are all gathered together.”


Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 20.124–125: “O great learned devotee, although there are many faults in this material world, there is one good opportunity—the association with devotees. Such association brings about great happiness. . . . .”

Srila Prabhupāda: “Therefore, our Society is association. If we keep good association, then we don’t touch the darkness. What is the association? There is a song, sat-saṅga chāḍi’ kainu asate vilāsa, te-kāraṇe lāgila mora karma-bandha-phāṅsa (Gaurā Pahū, verse 3). Sat-saṅga. Sat-saṅga means association with the devotees. So the one poet, Vaiṣṇava poet, is regretting that, ‘I did not keep association with the devotees, and I wanted to enjoy life with the nondevotees. Therefore I’m being entangled in the fruitive activities.’ Karma bandha phāṅsa. Entanglement.” [Conversation with David Wynne, July 9, 1973, London]

Japa Retreat Journal for 4/26/24

Japa Quotes from Tachycardia Online Journal (Part 4)

Please, Lord, give me mercy to cry out Your names in the maha-mantra. Let me do it better. The daily japa yajna is the most important thing, and yet I cannot cry out with tears of love. You have made Yourself most accessible in Your holy names, but unfortunately I commit offenses and do not have full taste for chanting. Somehow I have fallen into this ocean of material suffering, and I cannot extricate myself. I beg You to pick me up and make me one of the atoms at Your lotus feet.


Despite my neglect in chanting, You remain close to me and are always ready to take me back. You remain as my best friend, enclosed in my heart. You never turn your back on me, although I fail in many ways to reciprocate with You in the easy, sublime method You have given. When will the day ever come when I will taste the nectar of the holy names? Prabhupada has written that we should keep our hearts clean, the way Lord Caitanya and His associates cleaned the Gundica Mandir. Make a throne in your heart, and Krsna will sit there and be honored and pleased to bestow His bliss upon you. First reach the point of regretting your neglect of Him and feel intense unworthiness. Then realize the gift is still open for you. Then perform austerity for controlling the mind and fully embracing hari-nama; Krsna will not abandon you.


3:38 A.M.

I have finished eight rounds. How did it go? I tend to give myself encouraging pats on the back so as not to become depressed by my low state. At least I kept awake, listened to the syllables, and moved quickly. Sometimes the rounds were six and a half minutes, sometimes longer. I chant in a low voice, almost a whisper, and sit in one place.


When I was young, it used to be a physical act. I would move my jaw with exaggerated movements and chant out loud. I chanted in the temple with many devotees. Sometimes I got up on my feet and stomped and walked back and forth to drive out the mental distractions. I often chanted all my rounds at one go. I fear if I tried that today it would bring on an exertion headache. For awhile, I even used a hand mirror to make sure I was chanting the mantra accurately. Sometimes I squirted my face with a water bottle. I went all out, and people noticed me.


I can’t imagine or appreciate what a great accomplishment or practice it is. Rupa Gosvami says, “I do not know how much nectar is contained in this word ‘krs-na.’ If only I had thousands of heads, then I could chant Hare Krsna.” I try to think of the qualities of the holy names and the great praises made by the acaryas for the process.


Sometimes I think of Krsna. It’s beyond my comprehension. It has the potential to bring me very close to Krsna because He’s nondifferent from His names. Thus, we say Krsna dances on your tongue when you chant. You struggle at japa, but it is the most worthy effort. How wonderful are those devotees who are actually enthusiastic to chant. They have already conquered all the Vedic sacrifices and austerities. “Of all the instructions of the spiritual master, the instruction to chant sixteen rounds is most essential.”


4:04 A.M.

I just did a ninth round because I wasn’t feeling sleepy. Now I’ll try to take a nap so that I won’t be drowsy during the period when we chant in the closed car. The chanting usually gets slower then. I chant at least four rounds, and then we go out for the walk, during which I chant maybe two and a half rounds, and then finish the quota when we return to the car, refreshed. I usually get my sixteenth round done as we’re driving back to the house or after breakfast. Last night, my 5:00 to 6:30 P.M. chanting went quickly. It should never be a burdensome chore. I try to escape this by thinking of the famous qualities of the holy names, as described in the scriptures. I impress myself with the importance of what I am doing.


I am not sure of my schedule in Vrndavana. But I plan to rise early, before 2:00 A.M., and chant like this by myself. Yes, I plan to do it in Vrndavana. Is it a pleasant experience? Yes, it always is. Will you chant tomorrow? Of course, without question, every day of my life, as long as I am not sick. Are you ready to do the balance of your sixteen rounds? Yes, I feel fit. I may have to take a little nap first to regain my strength, but I will chant at the beach and finish my quota. Do you look forward to the evening rounds? Yes, I do. They have become an established part of my routine. What’s the difference between the early morning and the afternoon? The afternoon is more relaxed. I chant on my tulasi beads, passing them through my fingers. I chant from 5:00 to 6:30 P.M. and do not concentrate on getting a lot of rounds done. I just spend the hours chanting at an audible whisper.


During morning japa, I was a bit sleepy. Some of the rounds were long, some of them were short. I persisted because it is my firm vow to chant at this time, and I didn’t let anything stop me. As for distractions, I did not have many except the drowsiness. My mind did not wander. In the bathroom, I had heard a tape about akarma, karma, and vikarma. The devotees practice akarma. Their actions are free from contamination. They do not act for their own interests and minimize their personal needs. I thought a bit about that during the japa. Was it special? It always is.


Each day is a new opportunity to be steady and to improve. I can’t expect a particular session to be extraordinary. But gradually, almost without noticing it, you can improve.


Bhurijana teaches that each mantra should be fondled and paid attention to, one at a time. If you can chant one good mantra, you are successful. I chanted like a sports player, going into the game with enthusiasm to do the best I can and give it “the old college try.” This morning I scored a victory over maya. How would it have been better? I could have been more alert and concentrated on Radha and Krsna and Their holy names, “O Hara, O Krsna.” But I am satisfied that I completed the yajna in a decent amount of time and look forward to completing the rest at the beach.


January 3, 3:40 A.M.

Yesterday a headache came at 4:00 P.M. and couldn’t be subdued despite repeated medication. I decided to go ahead anyway and tried chanting japa from 5:00 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. The chanting was good—attentive and audible. I’m glad I didn’t give up. The pain and the maha-mantra persisted side by side. I was afraid the japa would make the headache worse or that I would have to stop, but that didn’t happen. Finally, by taking a snack of flat rice with peanuts, the headache went down. It was the second one of the day.


From Essays, Volume Three: Among Friends (1993-2002)

pp. 35-37


The Bhagavatam begins with a statement that it is for the nirmatsaranam satam: those who are pure in heart, devoid of envy toward others. Only such persons can understand the Bhagavatam. Therefore, we who are trying to practice Krsna consciousness are interested in how to eradicate such envy from our hearts.

There are many statements throughout the scriptures that this is necessary. In Upadesamrta, Srila Prabhupada describes the maha-bhagavata, the madhyama devotee, and the kanistha devotee. There he defines the maha-bhagavata as someone who is free of the tendency to find fault in others.

In the Caitanya-caritamṛta, there are also examples and definitions of what it means to be non-envious. Krsnadasa Kaviraja tells of his intimate friend, Haridasa Pandita, in Vrndavana, and he compared him to a bee who goes to the honey rather than a fly who is attracted by an open sore. We too would like to become honey-seekers.

Of Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami the following is said:

vaisnavera nindya-karma nahi paḍe kaṇe,
sabe krsna bhajana kare—ei-matra jane

He would not listen to blasphemy of a Vaisnava, nor would he listen to talk of a Vaisnava’s misbehavior. He knew only that everyone was engaged in Krsna’s service. He did not understand anything else.

Cc Antya 13.133

The verse states vaisnavera nindya karma. Nindya refers to the tendency to find fault. If a Vaisnava committed some reproachable activity, Raghunatha Bhatta didn’t want to hear about it. Sabe krsna bhajana kare: he thought only that they were engaged in Krsna’s service.

Is this called turning the other cheek, or is it more like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand? Srila Prabhupada writes:

Although a Vaisnava preacher may sometimes criticize others, Raghunatha Bhatta avoided this. Even if another Vaisnava was actually at fault, Raghunātha Bhatta would not criticize him. He saw only that everyone was engaged in Krsna’s service. That is the position of a maha-bhagavata. Actually, even if one is serving maya, in a higher sense he is also a servant of Krsna.

Each of us has the choice of what kind of person we wish to be. Raghunatha Bhatta chose to live by the understanding that everyone was following Krsna’s path in all respects. This is a very high level of understanding.

Prabhupada has told us that envy of others in this world begins with our envy of Krsna. Because we desire to have the position of the Supreme, we learn to hate (iccha-dveṣa) God for His position. Then we are thrust into the material world to live out the illusion that we have absolute and independent power. Srila Prabhupada paraphrased it: “Why should Krsna be praised? I’m as good as Krsna.”

As devotees we may think we are beyond such envy, and that we do not want Krsna’s position any longer, but sometimes we see that original envy come out when we are asked to surrender to Providence (the will of God). It is especially noticeable in young children; as we age, we learn to hide it. Still, even as devotees we often find ourselves struggling against inevitable time. Therefore, we can say that we are still envious of the fact that we are forced to be subordinate to God.

From our envy of God comes our envy of God’s servants. When such servants preach the message of surrender, we find fault with them. This behavior is destructive.

Prabhupada used the word “envy” in different ways. Usually, he defined envy as maintaining a negative attitude toward someone who has something more than what we have. Someone may have more wealth, a better body, a better house, a better car. We envy them for that. It’s a competitive expression, based on lust.

Srila Prabhupada also used the word in broader ways. He talks about being envious of animals, and then killing them. In that sense, “envy” means “malicious.” It is an absence of good will. Such maliciousness comes out in a variety of ways. People curse others beings rather than bless them, for example.

From Vandanam: A Krsna Conscious Handbook on Prayer

pp. 35-37

Devotees sometimes give up their vow to chant sixteen rounds daily and make their own lesser commitments, or they stop chanting altogether because they are not satisfied with the results. This is done at the risk of disobeying the order of the spiritual master, which is itself a serious offense against the holy names. Those who give up their quota of numerical strength sometimes say it makes no difference since their chanting habits have become deplorable. The solution, however, is to improve, not to give up.

Good Habits

In our attempt to give our japa a chance for survival, we should cultivate habits like early rising and reserving a good place for chanting, such as a quiet room or in the association of devotees in a temple. The quota Prabhupada has given is a minimum and we must not think that on completing it, we are “finished” with the holy name for the day. Prabhupada’s recommendation was to chant at least sixteen rounds a day on beads and innumerable utterances of hari-nama without the beads.

Sankirtana, or congregational singing of the holy names, is even more potent than private japa in that it distributes the holy name. Even one who is not inclined to God consciousness will receive spiritual benefit by hearing the chanting of sincere devotees. And for the devotees, hari-nama is another opportunity to chant more and develop taste.

As in japa, kirtana should be performed prayerfully, not as a musical exhibition, if we want to get the full results. And all chanting should be done while following a program of Vaisnava behavior under the guidance of a spiritual master. Casual chanting, or even accidental uttering of the holy name can also save one at the time of death from descent into a lower species, but “the nectar for which we are always anxious”—love of God—can be quickly attained only if we follow the program for avoidance of offenses and sinful activities.

Srila Prabhupada writes,

“The holy name is so powerful that it must act, but when one utters the holy name with offenses, its action will be delayed, not immediate, although in favorable circumstances the holy names of the Lord act very quickly” (Cc. Antya 3.60, purport).

From My Dear Lord Krsna: A Book of Prayers, Volume 2

pp. 92-93

I pray that You will grant me a strong desire to attain You. I am on the auspicious path leading to please You by devotional service, and I just have to carry it out in earnest in high gear to be successful. I don’t want to be mediocre. In the past, I engaged more in full external engagements in Your mission by opening and maintaining temples, managing the lives of many devotees, and lecturing daily in Srimad-Bhagavatam class. I traveled widely through a vast GBC zone and met with leaders to deal with problems of maintaining the preaching and the individual service of devotees. I performed as guru to hundreds of disciples, and had many group and individual meetings with them and received their formal worship. All these activities were scaled down in time for a variety of reasons. Unlike Srila Prabhupada, who kept up his traveling, managing and lecturing until he was eighty-one years old, I’m not able to maintain the pace due to my health. The GBC has even requested that I not participate in frontline management, due to the falldown I suffered some years ago. They would be willing to see me traveling widely and preaching, but I cannot keep it up. The symptom of my strongly wanting to please You was maintained by active participation on the GBC and by sannyäsa touring. Now I have to maintain my strong desire to attain You by more limited external activities.

But that does not mean I have to strive to please You less. I just have to do it in a different way. I have to maintain thoughtful, concentrated japa and perhaps increase my quota. Writing is a field in which I can still perform, and I must do it in earnest, using standard and new creative ways to produce literature for the devotees and nondevotees. My daily prayers to You form an important part of that expression. I need to speak to You personally in a prayerful way, under the guidance of my spiritual master. My hope is that as I share my feelings for You, it will inspire others. In my poems and other writings, I express my desire to attain You.


If I should lose You,
I’d be nowhere. You’re in my heart
as witness and judge.
I’ll never lose You,
but I need to be open
to You. If I should lose
You, I’d be a straw or nothing.
You are the Supersoul
residing beside my own soul,
and if I lost You, I’d
have no direction at all.
If I should lose my
affection or connection
to You, I’d be a nonentity.
I can’t lose You because
You’ve promised to always be
with me, like two
birds on a tree.

I’ll never lose You, You’ll stay with me
from one body to the next.
And finally I’ll join
You in the spiritual world
and never lose my
love for You.

I’ve done wrong and
come to this material world,
but You stayed with me.
If I should lose You,
all would be lost,
but that will never happen
because You are my eternal Lord.


You made my heart sing,
you gave me joy.
You taught my heart to sing,
you gave me knowledge of Krsna,
the Supreme, and Radha, the Queen.
You taught my heart to sing
in kirtana, and I cried tears
of ecstasy. You gave me
the holy names, and I
feel joy.

You taught my heart to sing
the holy names, and that
brought happiness to my
forlorn soul.

You taught me everything
and are my eternal guru.
I give you my life,
and I am indebted
forever for the gift
of song you gave to me.

From Basic Sketch Book

pp. 114-15

One might argue in my defense that even if I have to sit and look out the window, and cannot work due to pain, I’m still not outside of KC; I’m still in my constitutional position. Yes, I agree. But I am not at the stage where I can go on chanting when I have physical pain. I have to resign myself to very limited acts and thoughts. We should encourage devotees like me when they’re in that position. I can hardly imagine being able to simply ignore the pain and go on lecturing, reading and writing. It would not even seem to be a sensible way to treat the body to ignore its pain in that way.

I hope I can produce today. And what to speak of tomorrow when devotees expect me to deliver two lectures.

Wednesday is Balarama’s Appearance Day. I’ll probably go to Inish Rath and give the morning lecture. Look up about Lord Balarama in Cc. Adi 5 and in the index to KRSNA book.

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna.

Lord Balarama creates the world by His expansions. He’s the first expansion of Krsna. He is spiritual strength and we can pray to Him for that. The guru is His representative. Hear some of His lilas as part of krsna-katha.

You might want to emphasize Balarama’s lilas in which He is in the mood of Krsna’s brother and close associate.

Kamsa analyses things deeply—that he was only the agent and that the killing of the sons took place due to their own karma. But such depth was only a temporary phase for him. He soon reverted to thinking like a demon. If one speaks deeply yet acts like a demon that’s hypocrisy, another demoniac trait. A person who truly realizes deeply acts according to the truths he speaks, doesn’t try to rule over others or commit atrocities for which he’ll have to suffer.

At least while he spoke at this time, Kamsa felt regret and wanted to be pardoned by Vasudeva ad Devaki and wanted to give them solace by transcendental knowledge—the self doesn’t kill and cannot be killed. He fell at their feet with tears of regret.

10:36 A.M.

Krsna’s birth ceremony—gopis looked beautiful, cows were lavishly decorated, people splashed and smeared butter and milk on each other’s bodies. VCT gives evidence that Krsna was actually born to Yasoda and Nanda. Wherever Krsna appears, the goddess of fortune appears there. Thus Krsna’s appearance in Vraja indicated that the chief goddess of fortune, Srimati Radharani, would also appear there very soon.

From Prabhupada Meditations, Volume Five

pp. 232-34

A Writing Life

I began keeping a diary
at seventeen years old.
I wrote of my uncertain future
and under the influence
of the radio raconteur, Jean
Shepherd. I wrote in longhand,
in a three-ring binder.
Into my diary I pasted a picture
of a boy and girl under a blooming
apple tree and a picture of an
American soldier running forward with
an extended bayonet, under which
I wrote, “Whither goest thou, O
mankind?” In college I began writing
poems and short stories. At Brooklyn
College, I won the literary prize
two years in a row. I took
a writing course and was encouraged
there to make a literary career.
During those years I wrote
novellas about myself and
my friends on Staten Island.
After college I entered the navy
and didn’t write much, but I
wrote a short novel about my
relationship with my English professor
at the community college. After the
navy I went to live on the
Lower East Side and wrote directly
of my experience, under the influence
of marijuana.
Then I met the Swami.
My life completely changed.
I stopped doing drugs. I
decided that my writing life was
all false ego, and one day
I carried all my manuscripts
and dropped them into the
incinerator at the Swami’s
apartment building. But
his disciple Hayagriva told
me, “I’m going to continue writing.
I’m writing for Krsna!”
I realized it was something that
I needn’t renounce but just
change from confession to
devotional service. I wrote
essays for Back To Godhead
magazine, and poems too,
about chanting.
The Swami approved.
For twelve years I published
many essays in BTG, some
of them stories from the
Bhagavatam, some of them
realizations in bhakti-yoga.
I also wrote Readings in Vedic Litterature
aimed as a textbook for the colleges.
After the disappearance of
Srila Prabhupada, I was
commissioned by the GBC
to write his biography. Along
with a team of researchers, I
gathered data and interviews and
wrote his life story in seven
volumes. It took five years.
Then I began my personal
writing career. I published
sastric studies such as Living
with the Scriptures, and memories
of Prabhupada based on meditations,
prayer life and three volumes
of commentaries on his letters
to me. I’ve written books on
japa and volumes of poems.
I’ve written many kinds of books
published by GN Press,
and about two years ago I
started publishing on the
internet, a daily journal
and poems. From this I
collected a series of direct
prayers to the Lord,
My Dear Lord Krsna,
and published it as a book.
The web has also supplied
me material for books on
and volumes of poems.
It has been a fruitful, virtual
life, writing for my guru in the
mission of Lord Caitanya.
I do not regret the effort
that I made and the emphasis
on internal monologue.
Our sampradaya stresses books,
and I come in that line.
It’s the brhad-mrdanga, the
major sankirtana which is
heard around the world.
I have given my life to
choosing words of praise to
Prabhupada and Krsna,
and I feel they have empowered
me. May it go on after I
am gone, may my books
stay in print and be read
by eager readers. That is
all I ask: that I be read
in the generations to come,
and that my books and postings
help people in Krsna consciousness.

—from A Writing Life, Updates from
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

#324: January 23, 2010, The Yellow Submarine


<< Free Write Journal #293

Free Write Journal #295 >>


Essays Volume 1: A Handbook for Krishna Consciousness

This collection of Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami’s writings is comprised of essays that were originally published in Back to Godhead magazine between 1966 and 1978, and compiled in 1979 by Gita Nagari Press as the volume A Handbook for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

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Essays Volume 2: Notes From the Editor: Back to Godhead 1978–1989

This second volume of Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami’s Back to Godhead essays encompasses the last 11 years of his 20-year tenure as Editor-in-Chief of Back to Godhead magazine. The essays in this book consist mostly of SDG’s ‘Notes from the Editor’ column, which was typically featured towards the end of each issue starting in 1978 and running until Mahārāja retired from his duties as editor in 1989.

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Essays Volume 3: Lessons from the Road

This collection of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s writings is comprised of essays that were originally published in Back to Godhead magazine between 1991 and 2002, picking up where Volume 2 leaves off. The volume is supplemented by essays about devotional service from issues of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s magazine, Among Friends, published in the 1990s.

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And your life can become perfect.

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Here is Srila Prabhupada

I use free-writing in my devotional service as part of my sādhana. It is a way for me to enter those realms of myself where only honesty matters; free-writing enables me to reach deeper levels of realization by my repeated attempt to “tell the truth quickly.” Free-writing takes me past polished prose. It takes me past literary effect. It takes me past the need to present something and allows me to just get down and say it. From the viewpoint of a writer, this dropping of all pretense is desirable.

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Geaglum Free Write

This edition of Satsvarūpa dāsa Goswami’s 1996 timed book, Geaglum Free Write Diary, is published as part of a legacy project to restore Satsvarūpa Mahārāja’s writings to ‘in print’ status and make them globally available for current and future readers.

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